LOCAL NEWS

Sidewalk artifact is relic of forgotten Seattle company

Mar 19, 2017, 10:12 AM | Updated: Mar 20, 2017, 9:12 am
Mutual Light & Heat, Seattle company...
This manhole cover at the opening of an alley between Second and Third avenues is an artifact from a forgotten Seattle company called Mutual Light & Heat. (Feliks Banel)
(Feliks Banel)

On a sidewalk in downtown Seattle, a well-worn manhole cover is an overlooked and stepped-on artifact from a forgotten Seattle company of the early 20th century.

Thousands of people walk over it every day without looking down or without giving a second thought. After all, manhole covers (or, if your prefer, the gender neutral and more politically correct “utility access covers”) dot the concrete landscape all over the city – on sidewalks and roads everywhere. They’re supposed to be ignored.

Related: Little patch of Ireland on the edge of the Kent Valley

But this one is a little special. It’s at the opening of an alley between Second Avenue and Third Avenue, on the north side of Pike Street. It reads “M. L. & H. Co.  STEAM,” and it’s more than 110 years old.

“M. L. & H.” stands for “Mutual Light & Heat.”  The company was created in October 1901 to sell electricity (via wires) and steam heat (via underground pipes) to customers in downtown Seattle. Mutual’s roots go back even further, to a company called Diamond Ice & Storage that was founded in 1889. Diamond’s owners created Mutual to diversify their business in a booming and growing city.

Mutual was short-lived. Well, the name was, anyway. By April 1905, another now-forgotten business, the Seattle-Tacoma Power Company, purchased the assets of both Diamond Ice & Storage and Mutual Light & Heat.

It was an era of consolidation, and by January 1912, the assets of Seattle-Tacoma Power were purchased by Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power. In those years, Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power was a major private trolley operator and electric company.

Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power eventually got out of the trolley business and shortened (and re-ordered) their name to Puget Sound Power & Light. They sold off the steam production and distribution assets of Mutual to Seattle Steam in the 1950s, which is now known as Enwave. Nowadays, Puget Sound Power & Light is the major private gas and electric utility company for much of Western Washington, Puget Sound Energy.

More from Feliks Banel

Local News

Seattle council debate...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle council candidates get chance to question each other in Wednesday debate

Candidates for Seattle's Position 9 City Council seat squared off in a debate hosted by Rainier Avenue Radio and Converge Media on Wednesday night.
11 hours ago
Seattle vaccine mandate, firefighters...
Nick Bowman

Seattle firefighter union reports 5 members facing termination over vaccine mandate

A statement from the Seattle Fire Fighters Union Local 27 indicates that five of its members are facing termination as a result of the vaccine mandate.
11 hours ago
Snohomish mosque...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Police investigating hateful act at Snohomish County mosque

A 50-year-old man has been arrested and another person is still at large after Mountlake Terrace Police said they made their way into a mosque and threw away religious artifacts.
11 hours ago
unemployment benefits...
Nicole Jennings

People quitting over vax mandate may qualify for unemployment benefits

Do people quitting their jobs over the vaccine mandate qualify for unemployment benefits? That all depends on a certain set of circumstances.
1 day ago
covid memorial...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County councilmember proposes memorial for lives lost to COVID

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is proposing the creation of a public art memorial to honor those who lost their lives to COVID-19. 
1 day ago
shakeout...
Kathryn Altena

Washington to participate in Great ShakeOut earthquake drill for 10th year

At 10:21 a.m. on Oct. 21 will be the annual Great ShakeOut earthquake and tsunami drill in Washington. Practice how you would drop, cover, and hold on.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Sidewalk artifact is relic of forgotten Seattle company